When they traded Ben Revere to the Philadelphia Phillies this offseason, the Minnesota Twins believed they received a quality major league starter in Vance Worley.
Worley, 25, will take the lead in Minnesota’s rotation this season, and the confirmation came Wednesday on the team’s official Twitter account: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has named Worley Monday’s Opening Day starter against 2011 Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers.
Worley, who has spent the past two seasons in Philadelphia’s rotation, went 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA last year, striking out 107 batters in 133 innings pitched.
“I’d be excited about (starting on Opening Day),” he told FoxSportsNorth.com earlier this week. “It says they think a little bit about me. I want to get the ball on Opening Day and get us a win. If I had my choice, I’d like to go up against tough guys every time.”
Minnesota’s top returning starter, Scott Diamond, is beginning the season on the disabled list after elbow surgery, so Worley was chosen over Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Liam Hendriks, who also are expected to be in the team’s rotation. Worley is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 22 innings this spring. The right-hander was acquired from the Phillies along with pitching prospect Trevor May in exchange for Revere.
Worley is coming off offseason elbow surgery and believes he can return to being the effective starter who went 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 131 2/3 innings in 2011 for Philadelphia. He has lost 10 pounds since last season, and his fastball has been clocked as high as 94 miles per hour this spring, a level he said he hasn’t reached in a couple of years.